So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

13 July, 2009

More Heat Than Light

Recently, a friend of mine posted to a local board looking for a roommate. Like people who do that sort of thing will do, she posted about what she was looking for in a roommate - which happened to include not having children.

And there was a resulting kerfluffle, in which one person replied suggesting (after some 'people who don't want to live with children are defective in some way' and 'why aren't you willing to modify your landlord's property to be more childsafe?' comments) that this was the sort of thing they expected of polyamorous people and their dubious state of priorities, that they'd rather have their orgies than have children around.

And I'm sitting here consulting with the belly, hey. Ha.

But seriously.

(Not even getting into the whole "... what the hell is wrong with not wanting to room with children?" thing here. I'm not capable of being surprised that a twenty-to-thirtysomething urban techie roomshare happens to have childfree people in it and, y'know, there's nothing wrong with reality here.)

This sort of thing just ... quietly exhausts me. In that 'nibbled to death by ducks' way. Because while it's not one of those Grand Oppression things, or even a major big deal, just the sort of wearing grinding everyday grit in the gears that means there's so much less available for dealing with the world. Emotional entropy, lost as heat.

I'm coming to think that this is one of the hardest things to convey about being one-down (or more-down) from normal in the social ranking thing. The way that ... it's not always someone's kids being taken away, or an eviction notice, or a punch in the face, or a death. And it's not always the major setups that say, no, you can't get married, or no, you have to decide what's safest to mark down on this form as your sex, or having to go the long and ugly way around for an accessible entrance, or all those other things that are the legacy of a system passively constructed in a manner hostile to people like you.

It's the middle stuff.

The stuff where it's clear that someone's basically hostile to people-like-you, may not have the power to do anything significant with it (though oftentimes, horribly, these people do) but just want to make sure you have an emotionally difficult day. A little more stress, a little more awareness of hostility, maybe even a little less safe.

But oh, it's just some person on a forum, or some overheard conversation, or something like that. It's not like it's hurting you, people will say; and it's not like it's the system keeping you down, the system isn't alive and argumentative like a person, so it's safe to rail against. It's just ... a little more friction, not anything worth paying attention to. Sticks and stones, you know, sticks and stones. This stuff isn't real, it's at worst a little friction.

But thermodynamics hits the emotions too. And the more the world wears away, the more people have to grind against these abrasive notions about who we are, for whatever values of who we are are being scraped at, the more just gets lost. The energy is gone, drifting away into nothingness, unrecoverable: the price of entropy. And that's energy that could have healed the world, maybe, or at least just been better able to deal with the real nasty shit out there, or the tedious grind of the impersonally cruel system.

I don't even know if I'm making any damn sense. It's not about being poly, or childfree, or anythign or everything else: it's about the hurt of being in a world where there's this constant exhausting pecking away, where any random person might just say something randomly hostile, where that's normal, unless one seeks communities specifically to protect oneself against that - and even there, there will be the moments that someone says something that grinds a little more grit into something the space wasn't defining as part of its protection.

Attacks I can deal with. Systems I can rail against and change.

People? People are harder.


Darker said...

I don't even know if I'm making any damn sense.

Oh, yes. Yes indeed.

lilcollegegirl said...

I just wanted to say that yep, you make plenty of sense and that I really needed to read this today. Read about someone who gets how these things pile up.

BeccaTheCyborg said...

You are making so, so much sense. This post is amazing.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! Thank you.

MP said...

One of the commenters on that kerfluffle was the same one who argued with people for not answering her question EXACTLY the way she wanted them to ...

not stable, mentally, and I'm not using that hyperbolically.